The streaming wars have arrived and so has the first official battle: a viable brand name. Some brands have risen to the occasion. And others? Not so much.
There used to be a time where you had to physically leave your house in order to rent or see a movie. But thanks to streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu, many of these movies now come to us in the comfort of our own homes (not to mention all the TV shows they also offer). Of course, good ideas often lead to emulation, and it was only a matter of time before other media companies wanted to get in on the streaming game, too.
Which leads us to now. 2019. Where there are at least 50 streaming platforms (yes, we did count all of them) in existence for reasons I may never know (i.e capitalism, but tomato tomahto).
So, the streaming wars are upon us. And there are a variety of valid takes that topic can inspire, but instead of bemoaning it or tackling the unstable nature of this trend like your friendly neighborhood economist, we’ve decided to rank these newer and older streaming platforms….based on how good their names are, with no official criteria to go by:
One of the originals. Often copied, never quite duplicated. Netflix clocks in at the top of the list because the name, while catchy, is also very simple. You are literally watching “flix” (a.k.a. flicks, a.k.a. movies) on the “net” (a.k.a. internet). Simplicity is key for branding and that’s one thing Netflix is very good at.
This name is wonderfully brilliant for several reasons, but the biggest reason is that it functions as an incredible flex, reminding both TV and comic consumers that the brand is known for its rich, expansive, and most importantly, iconic comic book history.
The Tribeca Film Festival is already one of the most prestigious film festivals around, but I wanna shake the hand of whoever came up with this name because it’s very much designed to Jedi mind-trick you into subscribing to this ultra-super-important-sounding service and that, my friends, is good branding.
There’s nothing I love more than clever wordplay or a brand playing to its strengths. But something else that works too is unconventional spelling. Playstation easily could have named and spelled its service “Playstation View” like a plebian, but opted to do the opposite. It’s a simple tweak, but it works.
Much like “Playstation Vue,” Epix plays with unconventional spelling and takes what could be a simple word like “epics” and turns it into something more eye-catching. Customers and brands love a well-placed “X” and Epix nails it.
Hulu lands here because even though it doesn’t engage in any clever wordplay or “wink wink ha ha” branding like some of these other platforms, the name is short, sweet, and to the point and according to its history, doesn’t really mean anything at all — so there’s no unwanted baggage or easily roastable ammunition that accompanies. Like it’s main competitor Netflix, Hulu recognizes that simplicity is law and is all the better for it.
Philo was originally a streaming app specifically created to cater to cash-strapped college students and went live in 2017. But in my head, Philo sounds comforting. Like a friend. It’s not terrible, but’s not amazing either. Hence, meh.
Sling TV not as brilliantly creative or clever as some of the names mentioned earlier, but for some reason it makes me feel slightly nostalgic. Perhaps because it takes after the platform Boomerang in naming itself after inanimate objects that could be used as weapons.
Amazon Prime Video
The names “Amazon” and even “Amazon Prime” are highly memorable. “Amazon” itself reminds you of important things like the rainforest that it shares its name with and “Prime” sounds like you’re related to an Autobot. So, slapping “Video” at the end of all that doesn’t quite fit. It does the job, I guess, but not enthusiastically.
I maintain that slapping “TV,” “Now,” or a plus sign after your brand name is a little lazy, but I will admit that both logos of these streaming services are doing quite a bit of the work where brand recognition is concerned. So, I’ll allow it.
This trio of streaming platforms barely made the cut. And then when I reconsidered, I discovered I liked that HBO Go rhymed and was slightly amused by HBO’s commitment to slapping random words next to their name in every new streaming platform they come up with. I look forward to their future services including HBO See, HBO Spot, and HBO Run.
This is perhaps the most terribly terrible name on the list. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s a nod to NBC’s very colorful logo, but let’s be real: the name is too roastable. Just entirely too roastable. Gizmodo mentioned recently that the network should have just named their platform “penis” if they were going to do this and it’s hard not to agree.
If I could have had this tie with “Peacock”, I would have. I have no earthly idea why “seed” is a part of the app’s name. And while I’m aware that the name probably has something to do with Seed mobile apps that launched back in 2015, I don’t think we can assume everyone knows that and once you remove the name for its context, well…
This one is awkward because though it’s been around since 2010, I literally thought of Max Goof — from A Goofy Movie — while looking at it. And then when I looked at it again, for some reason I thought it had something to do with HBO. Like Cinemax and HBO Go had a baby and HBO won custody. Which is something I definitely shouldn’t be thinking when I look at a name.
This is probably not the best name for a streaming platform that is connected to a social media platform that has a sordid history of violating the privacy of most of the free world. But in case you forgot they were in the business of doing that, the veteran social media platform would like you to know that you’re most likely under surveillance and that they are always watching.
Urban Movie Channel
There was an episode of Blackish a couple of years ago that lamented the word “Urban” and explained how it was a very dry way to say “Black” without actually saying Black. Think “Urban youths” but more annoying. Anyway, this isn’t the worst on our worst names list, but it belongs here because it’s one of the most uninspired. Like, of course BET was already taken, but sheesh.
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